The following is an example of an introductory overview for a module in Sociology of Deviance. This is an online course geared for upper-level students having completed previous coursework in Sociology.
Module 5 Overview
This week we explore violent crimes like murder and rape. The assigned reading and lecture will cover major trends in interpersonal violence and a timed quiz will test your comprehension of this material. To familiarize you with the ways in which these issues materialize in the real world and how communities struggle to address them, I have provided three brief interviews with social workers employed with the Department of Social Services in Alleghany County, Virginia. The department featured is located in a working class area of Appalachia where there is considerable poverty and limited resources for residents. As these interviews demonstrate, identity and culture matter when exploring deviance. Gender, race, and class all intersect to influence violence.
The discussion assignment will ask you to apply these concepts to current debates regarding systemic violence from a feminist perspective. This assignment will also encourage you to think critically about the validity of popular theories. First, we will watch a video by sociologist Jackson Katz on the relationship between gender and violence in school shootings, with an emphasis on the problem of gender neutrality in conceptualizing this violence. Secondly, the discussion will also offer a short interview with psychologist Steven Pinker on the decline in violence. As we will learn, Pinker’s findings match up with some of our textbook’s reports, but you will be asked to consider a number of ways in which his theory falters, particularly in its presumption that police reports are gender neutral. I have provided two short supplementary news articles which you may want to peruse to facilitate your discussion participation. These two readings explore how race also frames our understanding of mass shootings and how gender neutrality can provide a false picture of domestic violence. These readings are optional.
To successfully complete this module’s content, you will:
- Review the learning objectives for this module.
- Complete the chapter reading.
- View the lecture and guest interviews
- Complete the quiz
- Participate in the discussion forum.
This module contains material that could be triggering to some students. This material includes descriptions of gender-based violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elderly abuse, and other physically or emotionally distressing behaviors. If you have concerns over your comfort level and personal well-being in regards to the course content, please contact me, and I will do my best to accommodate. I recommend checking out the CSU Women and Gender Advocacy Center for additional information, resources, and support.
Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:
- Summarize the prevalence of major types of interpersonal violence (basic statistics, demographics impacted, and growth or decline over time).
- Provide at least one example of the relationship between subcultural norms and the use of violence.
- Apply a feminist critique by naming one or two situations where gender-neutrality can mislead perceptions of violence
- Provide two or three reasons why child abuse, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse occurs.
- Describe the efforts made to address and reduce violent behaviors by providing a couple of examples of social services efforts.
- Lecture: “Crimes of Interpersonal Violence” (30:00)
- Interviews with Adult and Child Services Professionals in Rural Virginia
- Jackson Katz on School Shootings (8:19) (Required to Complete Discussion Assignment)
- Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & The Better Angels of Our Nature (9:48) (Required to Complete Discussion Assignment)
- Chapter 5, Sociology of Deviance – “Crimes of Interpersonal Violence”
- Supplementary Reading (Not Required): “Shooters of Color are Called ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Thugs.’ Why are White Shooters Called ‘Mentally Ill’?” The Washington Post
- Supplementary Reading (Not Required): “Domestic Abuse Could Not Be Further from Gender Neutral” The Telegraph
3. Discussion Assignment: “Violence Today”
4. Timed Quiz (20:00)
- First discussion post
- Second and third discussion post